LONGVIEW, Texas — Starting in the coming 2019-20 school year, all pre-k and kindergarten students at Longview Independent School District's Johnston-McQueen Elementary will attend the East Texas Montessori Prep Academy.

Board members unanimously approved the measure during a special meeting Wednesday.

Assistant Superintendent Horace Williams recommended the change "in order to facilitate continuity of instruction for the Montessori program and free up classroom space for program expansion at Johnston-McQueen."

"Johnston-McQueen has no vacant classrooms to accommodate incoming program changes," Williams said. "With this change, three classrooms will become available for program expansion. East Texas Montessori Prep Academy has the available space for the additional enrollment."

However, the campus will continue to serve hearing-impaired pre-k and kindergarten students at the Regional Day School for the Deaf that is housed at Johnston-McQueen Elementary. The Regional Day School for the Deaf serves students from more than 20 school districts and numerous counties throughout the East Texas area.

CAMPUS "FEEDER PATTERN" CHANGES

Later, trustees unanimously approved switching feeder patterns of incoming 6th graders of Foster and Forest Park middle schools.

Williams recommended the switch "to keep continuity of instruction for the Montessori program and to help keep the middle school enrollment balanced."

In previous years 5th graders from South Ward were promoted to Forest Park and 5th graders from Ware were promoted to Foster Middle.

Williams said, with the change of Ware Elementary to a Montessori Academy, this feeder pattern needs to be reversed in order to allow the 5th graders from Ware to stay in the Montessori program at Forest Park.

"This change should also help to lower the number of students at Foster Middle School as well," he added.

CONTRACT FOR 1B TRAINING

The board also approved a request from Linda Buie, Longview High School Dean of Dean of Instruction, and Dr. Cynthia Wise, CEO for East Texas Advanced Academies, to contract with Texas International Baccalaureate Schools (TIBS) to provide 1B training for students and teachers from Longview High, Forest Park Middle, J.L. Everhart Elementary, Bramlette Elementary, Johnston-McQueen Elementary, and Ware East Texas Montessori Academy.

Buie said the training will be provided for students and teachers in an effort to familiarize them with the International Baccalaureate philosophy and instructional standards, as well as various teaching strategies.

"The training would take place over the course of two days for students and on a Saturday for teachers," she said. "The goal from this training would be to increase the number of students entering the I.B. program at the high school level."

Funding for the training and extra pay for teachers (for working on a Saturday) would come from a combination of grant funds and local funding.